Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Total Game Preview: Mississippi State vs. Oregon

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 21, 2008

Everyone is worried about a bunch of quacks, including myself. Oregon can fire the rock…to the tune of 40.1% from 3-point territory on the year, knocking down 8.7 per game. Big man center, Maarty Leunen, who hoisted 114 threes this season, making 50.9%, is on the chalk-talk from Eugene to Starkville. The remaining Duck starters combined to shoot 38.8% from long distance. The Bulldogs as a team only mustered up 34.1% from beyond the arc, yet they only attempted 7.2% less three-pointers than this gunning Oregon squad.

The point is, 39% of Oregon’s shot attempts are 3 pointers. Can you guess what that percentage is for Mississippi State, a team with an interior offensive presence which is described as being “rough and tumble,” especially when it comes to defense and rebounding? 36.8%. More than a third of the Bulldogs’ shots are 3 pointers. Why does the difference between these two teams seem so little? I’m certainly baffled, but the conclusion is simple: Mississippi State can’t afford to get in a shooting contest against the Oregon Ducks, because……well, the Bulldogs can’t really shoot.

Meet the Press:

OK, so how does one go about predicting this game?

I almost spit up my [insert what you might be drinking here] when I read the Dawgs-Ducks game preview on the Sporting News:

Defense usually prevails in postseason, and that would lead one to pick Mississippi State. But the Ducks played in the nation’s toughest conference this season and are more tested. Don’t expect Oregon to get the score into the 90s, but it should be able to impose its will.

The Crap-10 is the nation’s toughest conference? Are you kidding me? First of all, the Pac-10 is #2 in conference RPI, ACC is 1, SEC is 4. Another fact: those are just numbers. I know it’s a down year for the SEC, but the Pac-10 will never, repeat, never be “tougher” than the SEC, much less the best in the nation. That’s why I never read the Sporting News anyway.

——

Joe Lunardi, Bracketologist, M.D., ranks the tourney participants 1-64. Mississippi State is #30, Oregon is #45.

Accuscore on ESPN gives Mississippi State a 53% and Oregon a 47%, and predicts the score: 71.9 to 70.6 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Pat Forde says the “best case scenario” for the Bulldogs is to beat Oregon and push Memphis to the limit before losing. The worst? Stans catches heat for another early exit and Jamont Gordon hires an agent, gets a new car, and never makes it back to Starkvegas (a paraphrase).

CBS Sportsline “Expert” Picks:

Gary Parrish, Senior Writer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Gregg Doyel, National Columnist – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Michael Freeman, National Columnist – Oregon Wins.
Dennis Dodd, Senior Writer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Brian De Los Santos, College Producer – MSU wins, loses to Memphis.
Pete Gillen, CBS College Sports Analyst – Oregon Wins.
Steve Lappas, CBS College Sports Analyst – Oregon Wins.

But most importantly, Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.) picked the Dawgs to beat the Ducks. Aren’t you excited?

The Rivals.com experts have picked Mississippi State across the board.

However, both Bill Simmons and his wife are picking Oregon.

ESPN.com Bracket Caster

Back to ESPN……no joke, my first and only run at the ESPN Bracket Caster for the South Region produced this result (click thumbnail to the right to see the results):

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MY PREDICTION:

What worries me the most about this game is not en fuego Oregon 3-point shooting; it’s the Bulldogs themselves. One can only hope that they don’t shoot themselves in the foot (no pun intended) with careless turnovers and missed free-throws. Mississippi State averaged 15.5 turnovers per game and shot 63.5% from the line this season. But it’s not like Oregon takes care of the ball and their business at the charity stripe either. They committed about 12.7 tos per and shot 68.9% on freebies.

The Oregon Ducks are small, and they are not known to be a good defensive team. I certainly see them packing in a zone against the Dawgs, usually not a good sign for MSU. But this game will be won on the boards and the vertically challenged Ducks will have a hard time keeping Mississippi State away from the offensive glass in their zone defense.

In contrast, the gritty Bulldog D will be able to extend their man defense out to the 3-point line as Jarvis “Swat” Varnado will allow them to do so. The guy Varnado will probably guard is Joevan Catron, the 4 that’s really a 3 in Oregon’s three guard offense. Catron is only 6’6″, but is not known to knock down the trey as he’s only 5-13 from deep this year.

So, as the cliché goes: defensive teams are set-up to do well in the NCAA tournament. This game will be no exception. Oregon will not get hot because they will not get many open looks or second chances. The Bulldogs will overcome their own mistakes to move on to the second round.

Mississippi State 76 – Oregon 68

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One Response to “Total Game Preview: Mississippi State vs. Oregon”

  1. You were right on the money about Rhodes being the key. 34 and 9, and only 12 shots from the field? WOW!

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